Asian Games gold medalist Yuka Saso expects to draw much attention as she sets out for her title-retention drive in the Champion Philippine Ladies Amateur Open slated Feb. 19-21 at the Manila Golf and Country Club.

The talented 17-year-old shotmaker, who anchored the Philippines incredible comeback in the final round to sweep the individual and team golds in the quadrennial games in Jakarta last year, has confirmed her participation in the 57th staging of the annual championship which drew an early roster of 94 players, including 54 foreign bets.

They include the top and rising shotmakers from Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Korea, Thailand and the US, all eager to slug it out with the country’s cream of the crop, including the likes of Samantha Dizon, Mafy Singson, Eagle Ace Superal, Arnie Taguines, Laia Barro, Angela Legaspi, Monica Mandario, Junia Gabasa, Kyla Nocum and top jungolfer Nicole Abelar.

But no one packs a credential as imposing as Saso, who also powered the Phl to the team and individual gold in the World Junior Girls Championship in Canada in 2016. She also boasts of two victories in the local pro circuit, the last at Ayala Greenfield last year where she bested the likes of LPGA Tour-bound Dottie Ardina and a host of strong Thai players before beating Mikha Fortuna by two to rule the 56th Philippine Ladies Open at the Orchard.

That makes the Fil-Japanese ace the player to beat in the event, organized and conducted by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines and sponsored by EVA Air, San Miguel Corp., Cherrylume, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Pascual Laboratories, Group Management & Development, Inc., G&W Clubshares, Inc. and the National Golf Association of the Philippines.

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